US Tightens Rules For Travellers Over Omicron Variant

5 Dec, 2021 15:01 IST|L Manisha

In response to the increasing number of cases of the novel Omicron variant, the United States has made it essential for all arriving passengers, including those from India, to carry a negative COVID-19 test report or certification of recovery from the virus. 

The new protocol will come into effect on December 6, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"This amendment changes COVID-19 testing standards for air passengers 2 years or older boarding a flight to the United States," Indian government officials told Indian-American leaders on Saturday.

As per the new amended order, effectively for flights departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01 AM EST (5:01 AM GMT or 10:31 AM IST) on December 6, 2021, passengers are required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. Documentation of a negative SARS-CoV-2 viral test result from a specimen collected no more than 1 calendar day preceding the passenger's flight to the United States or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days before they board their flight.

"Air passengers will also be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true," officials said. The one-day period begins one day prior to the departure of the flight. To provide air passengers and flight crew more flexibility, the regulation uses a one-day time period instead of a 24-hour time frame.

The circular indicated that by employing a one-day window, test acceptability is not affected by the flight duration or the time of day the test sample was obtained. For example, on a Tuesday, when flight AI191/(BOM-EWR) departs at 01:30 AM IST, passengers having a negative test done any time the day before Tuesday, i.e. on Monday, might board, it stated.

Three more cases of the omicron variant were discovered in New York on Saturday, increasing the state's total to eight. In New York City, seven of the new cases were discovered.

State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett stated, "The omicron variety is here, and as expected, we are witnessing the beginning of community spread."
On Saturday, Massachusetts and Washington disclosed their first cases, a day after New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland did.

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